Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products

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Arsenic in Rice and Rice ProductsArsenic is present in the environment as a naturally occurring substance or as a result of contamination from human activity. It is found in water, air, soil and foods. In foods, arsenic may be present as inorganic arsenic (the most toxic form of arsenic) or organic arsenic. FDA has been monitoring the levels of arsenic in foods for decades, and in 2011, increased its testing.

On September 6, 2013, FDA released the analytical results of approximately 1,100 new samples of rice and rice products as part of a major effort to understand and manage possible arsenic-related risks associated with the consumption of these foods in the U.S. marketplace. These 1,100 new samples are in addition to the approximately 200 samples of rice and rice products that the FDA initially tested and released the findings in September 2012.

Sampling Results

Analytical Results from Inorganic Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products Sampling (PDF: 767KB)
September 2013

NOTE: The more than 1,300 samples reported in FDA’s test results include 200 samples from preliminary sampling done in September 2012 and the approximately 1,100 results analyzed more recently. For the results from the sampling done in September 2012, see Summary of Analytical Results from Rice/Rice Product Sampling (200 samples) and Full Analytical Results from Rice/Rice Product Sampling (200 samples).

Summary of Sampling Results

Inorganic Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products Summary (Includes results from September 2012)
Product Category Product Subcategory Average Inorganic Arsenic mcg/serving1 Number of Samples
Bakery Mixes and Pudding Brownies 1.3 5
Bakery Mixes and Pudding Cakes/Muffins 3.0 24
Bakery Mixes and Pudding Pie and Pizza Crust 2.5 3
Bakery Mixes and Pudding Pudding 0.8 4
Beverages2 Beer 2.1 65
Beverages2 Non-Dairy Rice Drinks 3.3 61
Beverages2 Protein Beverages 1.5 32
Beverages2 Rice Beverages 0.9 42
Beverages2 Rice Wine 0.5 22
Cereals Hot/Ready-to-eat Cereal3 3.2 110
Cereals Infant Cereal4 1.8 69
Cereals Toddler Cereal4 1.5 16
Grain-based Bars Cereal/Granola Bars 1.7 86
Grain-based Bars Meal Replacement/Energy Bars 2.0 29
Other Cookies 1.6 43
Other Dietary Supplements - Rice Protein Powders 1.9 12
Other Infant Formula  0.1 10
Other Pasta 6.6 23
Snacks Rice Cakes 4.3 59
Snacks Savory Rice Snacks 2.2 119
Snacks Sweet Rice Snacks 0.9 22
Rice Basmati 3.5 53
Rice Brown 7.2 99
Rice Instant 2.6 14
Rice Jasmine 3.9 13
Rice Other (incl wild rice5, carnaroli, mixed types) 5.6 6
Rice Parboiled 5.1 39
Rice White, long grain 4.6 149
Rice White, medium grain 3.6 91
Rice White, short grain 3.5 23

1Serving size based on Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC) per 21CFR 101.12 for each product category. The average inorganic arsenic (micrograms/serving) reported for each product category was calculated using all inorganic arsenic values. For those samples not speciated because the total arsenic was below the threshold for speciation, half of the total arsenic value was used for the inorganic arsenic value to calculate the average. For samples with the total arsenic less than the detection limit, half of the detection limit was used for the inorganic arsenic value to calculate the average. Please see the Full Analytical Results tables for rice and rice products for further information.
2An assumption was made that 1 ml = 1 g for the purposes of calculating inorganic arsenic per serving.
3The highest sample in this category was a rice bran cereal containing inorganic arsenic equivalent to 30 mcg/serving; the next highest samples in this
category contained inorganic arsenic equivalent to 11 mcg/serving.
4The 16 Toddler Cereal samples are a subset of the Infant Cereal category due to potential use in both infants and toddlers.
5"Wild rice" is not actual rice. Wild rice comes from an aquatic annual grass (Zizania aquatic) bearing edible grain.

Additional Resources

Page Last Updated: 11/26/2014
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